Turkey’s and the European Union’s Politics


Turkey is a non-European country and its endless efforts towards joining the European Union can be termed as Europeanization. The paper will therefore seek to thoroughly analyze Europeanization as a concept basing on Turkey as the subject nation. The Europeanization process involves the integration of different nations to mutually benefit from each other. The bulk of the Europeanization mostly focuses on the EU as the overall process which seeks to empower the European region both politically and economically. The integration between the nations has therefore sort to unify their operations to increase capital and human flow within the member states. It is also true to say that the Europeanization process has been prioritized amongst member states since it enables them to fully adapt and coexist peacefully with the neighboring nations. In addition, the member states have been able to make and establish foreign policies which encourage economic and political integration between member states. Additionally, most of the Europeanization process is directed and shaped by the economic dynamics and the political directions of the European Commission (EC).

The European Parliament and the council form a bicameral organ charged with key decision-making responsibility in the union. Since the bicameral organ is mainly engaged in political debates, consensus building is highly recognized in the overall decision-making process. Europeanization can also be overlooked as a policy isomorphism process that seeks to substantively assemble different policies from different nations. Indeed, there are differentiated policy dimensions in the Europeanization process. On one hand, there are that direct policies that seek to regulate and coordinate the behaviors of the EU member states. On the other hand, there are those policies that the member states emulate from the neighboring states. This mostly occurs if a country admires an operational policy from another country. And the overall aim of such behavior is to draw some beneficial ideas from the various EU members (Harmsen & Wilson, 2000, p. 15).

The European Union is an example of a successful Europeanization process that has strengthened the political and economic power of the 27 member states. As a region, the EU not only provides a ready market for the regionally produced goods and services but also seeks to enhance political accountability amongst the members. Turkey has been an EU associate since 1963 when it was referred to as the European Economic Community (EEC) (Çarkoğlu & Rubin, 2003, p. 6). But since then, its accession process has been coupled with many barriers which limit Turkey from becoming a full EU member. The on and off accession process triggered its new membership application in 1987. Its bid was however officiated in 1999 following the Helsinki European Council delegation.

Literature review

Despite turkey being a Muslim-dominated country, its urge to take part in the Europeanization process has been maintained. The urge and aspirations to become an EU member can however be intended to enable the country to access and enjoy the wide and expanded market in the region. It is very important to differentiate between Europeanization and convergence. Convergence can however be a result of the Europeanization process. In the Europeanization process, there are rules and regulations which guide and control the member states. It is for these reasons that Turkey have not fully being accepted in as an EU member (Featherstone & Radaelli, 2003, p. 33). For any country to be fully accepted as an EU member, there are various requirements that should be met. The debates seeking to accede Turkey into the EU has been on and off for a long period of time now. Basically, the rest of the EU members have been accusing Turkey of not effectively establishing perfect infrastructure for the Europeanization process. The political instability and lack of the economic goodwill are among the major barriers that block Turkey from being accepted as a full EU member. Indeed, the political instability evidenced by the 1980 Turkish coup worsened the country’s relationship with other EU members. The Turkish government also failed to provide the country with a free a fair election in 1983, 1995 and 1999 respectively. This political twist was mainly occasioned by the state and judiciary corruption. And since the political instability has a negative impact on the country’s economy, the coup deteriorated the Turkish economy hugely. However, the political stability installed later on has continued to improve the Turkish relationship with the rest of the EU members (Lake, 2005, p. 33).

The continuing Europeanization process led to the December 2002 Copenhagen European council decision which sort to revive Turkey’s accession negotiation (Cowles, Caporaso & Kappen, 2001, p. 217). However, before deciding on whether or not to fully accept Turkey as an EU member the political, social and economic policies had to be screened. A thorough screening that was done in the year 2006 showed that Turkey had made both positive and negative moves towards meeting the EU requirements. As far as the free movement of goods is concerned, there were many limitations which were mostly as a result of increased tariffs and quota restrictions within its boarders (Lake, 2005, p. 21). More efforts therefore need to be done in order to abolish the tariffs and quota restrictions. So far the country has managed to reduce the rates but it’s still yet to meet the required standard. Additionally, more efforts are required in order to allow free movement of capital and labor. Moreover, more efforts need to be advanced towards improving intellectual property law, information society and media. This is because this institution plays a big role in the strengthening and reinforcing the community integration and human rights compliance.

Likewise, more cultural and educational sensitization of residents is required in order to ensure that the EU member access the Turkish market. The Turkish secular status is positively welcomed by EU members who have in turn refreshed the accession talks. But, we should understand that the Turkish Islamic status provides a huge barrier for its full acceptance into the EU. This is because, of the 27 EU members, none of them is dominated by Muslim faithful. We can therefore argue that the cultural and religious beliefs determine the extent to which the Europeanization process takes place. The secular believe seems to be more acknowledged within Europe, a tendency which discriminates the Islamic belief. The Turkish improved Islamic status has thus played a big role towards the Europeanization process since the member state do not view them as Muslim extremists (Regeringsbeleid & Zürcher, 2004, p. 15).

There is inadequate customer and health protection in the country, a factor which greatly affects the integration process. Both the financial controls and foreign security and defense policy needs some further improvements in order to ensure effective integration. It is however expected that more difficulties will be experienced as far as the acquis chapters are concerned. The clauses containing the freedom of human capital and the right for company establishment and service provision in the Turkish market are expected to positively change the Turkish policy. According to the Turkish government, such adoptions will not only threaten its economic growth but will also result to unwanted industry competitions. In addition, the country’s strict competition policy ends up denying foreign investors chance to exploit the market. The other hard sectors which make it difficult for Turkey to be fully incorporated as an EU member include the agricultural and rural development, food safety, veterinary and sanitary policy and the fisheries department policies. It was decided that for Turkey to fully comply as an EU member, much more efforts needed to be established. The strict measures which have already been established by the Turkish government extremely make it hard for the EU members to operate within the Turkish market (Burrell & Oskam, 2005, p. 2). They have therefore retaliated back by denying Turkey complete and full EU membership.

The perfect geographical location of Turkey makes it vital for Turkey to be included in the Europeanization process. The cultural and historic ties in the region also places the nation in a better position compared to the rest EU members. The large natural resource available in the country and the geopolitical sphere of influence in the East Mediterranean, Black Sea, Middle East and the Central Asia makes the country to be of great importance in the region.

Since the EU has a lot of interest on the Middle East and central Asia, Turkey being a connector, becomes strategic. The EU also seeks to benefit from the 71 million Turkish populations who can significantly boost the region market capacity. With the current political stability in Turkey, the rest of the EU members now feel it will be alright to fully endorse the country as one of the members. Indeed, the 2004 reunification of Turkey and Turkish Cypriot has also economically enhanced the island making it even better placed than the other individual EU members (Arikan, 2006, p. 290).

Research Question/Hypotheses

This section seeks to define the hypothesis for this paper. It is important to establish some question propositions since they consequently assist in the formulation of the hypothesis. The questions however ought to be related to the subject topic and is meant at giving a fair view of what the paper is all about. Below are the two question prepositions which guided my research proceedings.

  • P1: How can the interdependencies between the European Union and Turkey influence the economic policies in Turkey?
  • P2: How would inclusion of Turkey influence other EU economies?

From the above propositions the following hypothesis can be formulated

  • H1: There is a strong correlation between Turkish economic progress and Europeanization.
  • H2: There is no any correlation between Turkish economic progress and Europeanization.

The independent variable (IV) is the Turkish economic progress while the dependent variable (DV) is the Europeanization impacts. The IV is measured by the growth registered in the Turkish economy since 1987 when the accession process begun. Efforts will also be directed towards the country’s market trends. The DV will be measured by looking at the Europeanization impacts in Turkey. It will look at the considerable steps made by the EU to incorporate Turkey into the European market.

Research design

There are various research designs which can be used to come up with a reliable analysis. Among the common designs includes the qualitative, interview surveys, sampling questionnaires, administrative records and documentary evidence designs (McNabb, 2004, p. 78). But in my case, the best research design to use is the administrative records together with the documentary evidence. This is because the overall Europeanization process has a greater impact on the country’s economy than the individual welfare. The qualitative nature of the analysis also encouraged me as a researcher to check the political and economic progress within the member states and positively interpret them in order to get the overall overview of the scenario. It is therefore important to look at some of the EU legal restrictions on the member states. It requires the members not to purchase agricultural land in a newly accessed state. The newly accessed state is given a 7 and above years transitional period before other members fully enters into its market. The accessed nation should also ensure a non-tariff market measures. This is the major requirement as far as the member states foreign policies are concerned. There are voluntary export restraints and licensing between the EU members and also import surveillance (Kamiński, 1999, p. 6).

The research however is a non-experimental as it assumes that the overall export and import growth in Turkey is significantly caused by the Europeanization process. It also has a cross-sectional argument as the statistics addresses a specific time frame. It therefore generalizes the economic performance of few sectors within a certain period of time to assume the overall economic performance of the nation (Kennedy, 1990, P. 312).

Data collection

The documentary evidence shows that since 1987Turkey has significantly broadened its industrial productions in order to serve its rising market demands. Turkey has also effectively utilized the custom union advantage to boost its exports which was estimated to be 142 billion USD in 2008. It is also vivid that more than 50% of the Turkish exports are usually done within the EU market. Additionally, it is estimated that 40% of the Turkish imports are mainly done from the EU members (Feldman, 1998, p. 60). The population survey also depicts that Turkey has a 71.5 million people and approximately 1.5 % yearly growth rate which not only offers a ready market to the union but also investment potential to the member states. The high GDP observed in Turkey explains the economic growth that the country has continued to observe. The community integration within the EU members boosts the social and territorial cohesion within the members (OECD, 2003, p. 78). The administrative cooperation between members reinforces the economic advancements within the region. Turkey is known for its continued support and respect to the human rights including women rights. Additionally, it’s known for its determination to ensure there is freedom of religion and worship. This character makes Turkey a good place to invest without fear of extremist actions. Their demographic numbers also assure the rest of the EU members of ready market as it is ranked second after Germany (Oxford Business Group, 2008, p. 145).


It is therefore perfect to conclude that Europeanization has more economic gains to the specific individual country than to the general EU economies. This is because the country’s economic productivity went up as the 1987 and specifically after the 1995 custom union between Turkey and the European Union was signed. Since then, an increase in the industrial production and export activities has been observed throughout the years (Tocci, 2004, p. 95). The market analysis also shows that the EU contributes a significant market proportion to the Turkish economy. With approximately 55% of its exports being directed towards the EU market, it indicates that a complete withdrawal from the market would severely affect the Turkish economy (Oxford Business Group, 2008, p. 145). Considering that a sizeable fraction of the country’s imports comes from the EU community, and then its presence effectively enhances economic development.

The continued human rights experiences in the Turkish economic environment enable the investors to effectively operate within it. The cultural advancement and freedom of worship and religion in the country also enables the residents to have no fear residing there. As a matter of fact it is because of such favorable environment that the country reports economic growth within its operations.

On the other hand, the EU benefits from the Turkish geographical location as they are able to slowly and efficiently target their political and economic interests in the Mediterranean and Black Sea region. The union therefore benefits from the geopolitical location of Turkey within Europe. The political stability in Turkey also provides a better potential for the EU encouraging integration between the respective nations. The Turkish efforts to be incorporated into the EU have however received a lot of objections from some EU members, a problem which I think is heavily based on the countries cultural and religious believe. Assuming that Turkey will eventually succeed in joining the EU, it will be the first Muslim dominated nation to become an EU member The accession process which was earlier estimated to be complete by 2013 seems to take more time than expected due to some member resistance i.e. Brussels. The hypothesis should therefore be accepted since there seems to be a strong correlation between the Turkish economic progress and the Europeanization process (Tesch, 1990, P. 330).

Schedule and budget

This indicates some of the substantive measures that the EU have undertaken in order to access Turkey as a union member state (Çarkoğlu & Rubin, 2003, p. 6).

Year Accessions progress:

July 1959 For the first time Turkey applies for the associate membership in the European Economic community
1982 Turkey experienced a coup which frozen its relations with the EU members
April 1987 Turkey formally applied for European Community membership, but this was to be established after the commission’s recommendation on the custom union.
March 1995 There was a formation of an European Union-Turkey customs union which allowed the nation to do business with the fellow EU member states
December 2002 The European council agreed to open negotiations on condition that Turkey fulfills the Copenhagen criteria
October 2005 The chapter 6 of the acquis was screened in order to evaluate the Turkish progress
Early 2013 The estimated time frame that Turkey accession process is expected to be completed
2021 The Brussels 2013 refusal to support the accession process push forward the completion date to at least by 2021

Validity and reliability

The administrative records and documentary evidence ensures the validity of the research due to its macro status. The documentary evidence such as the economic trends also ensure reliability of the design as it gives the overall economic impact brought about by Europeanization. Effective analysis of the import-export by the Turkish economy into the EU market will adequately explain the economic benefits of the market to the domestic producers. The overall accession process will however continue to be delayed as some of the EU member countries fails to support the Turkish move to become a full member. The 1995 custom union treaty however allows the Turkish investors to freely market their exports within the EU market despite the fact that the country has not fully satisfied the Copenhagen criteria.


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